Best places to visit in Sri Lanka

Sigiriya

Sri Lanka is one of the famous destinations located in Asia with Buddhism based culture, and many different cultures living together on a small island. Following places are categorized as best places to visit in Sri Lanka based on cultural, historical and different weather conditions that you wouldn’t believe such things exists in this small island.

It is about 6500 square kilometres area, but you will find more than 5 different cultural societies, many different weather conditions within the country.

Simply, if you need to feel a cool and misty atmosphere you just have to drive 3-4 hours from the Colombo. This article will discuss a way you plan your journey to the heart of kingdoms.

Why Sri Lanka especially?

Beautiful sunset in the coastal line
Beautiful sunset in the coastal line

According to the Lonely Planet, the world’s best destination for travelers is recognized as Sri Lanka last year. The main reason for that was endless beaches, giant stone ruins, elephants and the environment, and especially the welcoming people.

One more thing to add to that stack, if you are bored with freezing weather, or hot burning weather this is one of the perfect countries to visit for a vacation because you can experience three different weather conditions within a matter of 3-4 hour drive.

For food loves, you can enjoy hundreds of exotic species and unique cuisines that will make your mouth-watering. As I mentioned above, you can enjoy the finest Sri Lankan tea, which will give you a refreshing sensation.

For history lovers, you will find a countless amount of ruins, kingdoms, and every sort of artifacts that you will be amazed by how wonderful those. You can easily rent a car and plan your travel through the internet.

You will find dozens of rental car services when you search in google. recommended to read ratings, reviews carefully, and pre-book your car with or without the driver. Let’s discuss the best places to visit in Sri Lanka, and begin the journey.

you will see Plenty of Asian Elephants
Plenty of Asian Elephants

I’m assuming you will start the journey from Colombo, which is the economic capital in Sri Lanka, and just 30 km away from the BIA(Bandaranaike International Airport).

1.) Sigiriya – One of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka

A giant rock fortress that history goes beyond 5000 years
A giant rock fortress

Sigiriya is one of the most valuable historical monuments of Sri Lanka. It is a rock fortress located in the northern part of the Matale district in Sri Lanka, and just about 4-5 hour drive from Colombo.

According to many legends, King Kasyapa (477 – 495 AD) was created Sigiriya. Some people identified Sigiriya as Alakamandawa (city of gods). The legend of Sigiriya goes beyond 5000 years back to the king Ravana.

We will discuss those legends in a different article sets in the future.

After the king’s era, Sigiriya was founded by H. C.P bell who was known as the first archaeologist in Sri Lanka. Still the archaeological remains will amaze you. Most special remains are the Lion gate, remarkable terraced garden structure with several pools, the Palace summit, and the water mechanism and outer walls and protection system.

Sigiriya is one of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka and one of the most popular archaeological fortresses to see.

Cave drawings

One special tip is that I recommend you visit Sigiriya on a full moon day in the evening. (start the climbing at 1-2 pm and spend time to see all the glory on the rock, especially cave drawings of angels, and start descending after 5 pm.) You will see an unforgettable view of the moon beside the Sigiriya rock fortress once you were reached at the below gate.

The main recent to put the Sigiriya as one of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka is that the glory and history of that remarkable place. Don’t miss that..! you can research on many folks, legends, still alive there..!

2.) Kandy Esala Perahara (Sri Dalada Perahara)

Annual Perahara event

This is one of the best and popular places to visit in Sri Lanka among tourists for a long time. This perahara is a historical event that organizing annually to worship the sacred tooth relic of lord Buddha which is the main important symbol for Sri Lankan’s.

You can reach Kandy from Colombo withing 3-4h drive in Colombo-Kandy main high-level road. In 2019 the perahara festival was held on 1 August to 15 August. For all the visitors, It is recommended to book a place nearby early, because the place will be highly crowded during the perahara season.

Kandy Temple

The Esala Perahara history is going back to the 3rd century BC in Sri Lanka which started as a ritual to request the goods to give a prosperous country and good rainfall. People still believing that, in the perahara time, all the Kandy sky will become cloudy and sometimes heavy rain after the event…! amazing…!

Kandy Esala perahara is one of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka because of the historical glory of the perahara event and the colorful dancers and events.

A special tip is that don’t miss the traditional water -cutting ceremony(Diya-kapeema) which is held at the Mahaweli River near Getambe temple as the final event to end the perahara festival.
Diya-Kapeema, In the early morning, water in the river will be cut by a person from the main “devala” with the help of a sword, and fresh-water from the river will collect to a bottle to full fill ancient rituals. Don’t miss the series of events and places nearby the Kandy area…!

3.) Galle Fort and Jungle Beach – Best location that you will not forget

Galle Fort lighthouse

You can reach Galle city within 3 hours of drive from Colombo using the newly opened high way network.

This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with the history going back to the 16th century, to the Portuguese time. Galle is famous and named as one of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka because of the Galle fort, jungle beach, and long sandy beaches.

Dutch light house

The Galle Fort is a historical archaeological monument and built at 1588 and fortified by Dutch invaders in the 17th century. You can see a giant stone fortress as well as a beautiful coral site within the walking distance.

If we research beyond Dutch time, according to Ptolemy’s map, Galle was a famous port in 125-150 AD. British took over the place in 1796 and renovated as a military base and fortress in the 19th century.

Old port view in the drawings

Apart from a walk on top of Galle fort walls, observing colorful corals, don’t forget to visit jungle beach, local fish market in Galle. Jungle beach is related to many folk stories, and historical stories regarding Maha Ravana and Ramayana.

Many Tourists only know about Unawatuna, which is the most famous beach in Sri Lanka around the world, but you will get a more beautiful view and white sandy beach and specialty is the entire beach is hidden from the world..!

You can reach Jungle beach is via Rumassala hill (Bonavista hill), and it is just 4 KM away from Galle city center.

One special tip is that, don’t forget to visit the first maritime museum in Sri Lanka, which located inside the Fort. You can spend the entire day on a hidden beach and have fun!!!

4.) Anuradapura city of ancient kings

Ancient Template and structures

Anuradhapura also named as UNESCO world heritage site and categorized as one of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka for history seekers. You will be lost among the historical glory of the Anuradhapura era and will be amazed by sky-reaching constructions that remind the pyramid structures in Egypt.

Anuradhapura is the capital city of North Central Province, Sri Lanka, and the center of Theravada Buddhism in Sri Lanka for a long time. The place is full of ongoing excavation sites and everyday people discovering many more temples, monuments related to the early kings’ era in Sri Lanka.

You will see man-made large tanks, stone pillars, Buddhist sculptures and for some findings still, excavators couldn’t recognize the accurate timeline as well.

Samadhi Statue

You can visit many structures including Isurumuniya, Vessagiriya, Kuttam Pokuna, Samadhi statue, and many more places. You will need at least 3 days to visit every place, but I guarantee that the time you spend there will be worth it.

Ancient letters in the rock plates

Anuradapura is named as one of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka because of the historical glory and countless structures related to early Buddhism and kings era which is visible to your eyes..!

there are many stories, legends about several places in Anuradhapura, I will discuss those legends in a separate article.

5.) Nuwara Eliya – Little England in Sri Lanka

Tea states and train ride will brings a nice view

If you want to spend your time in a British like environment, Nuwara Eliya is one of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka. Nuwara Eliya also named as little England in Sri Lanka due to the gardens, cool and refreshing weather throughout the entire year.

The entire town is situated above 1800 m altitude and most famous for popular Sri Lanka Tea products around the world.

Especially you can observe many colonial building structures around the city and most significant buildings are Queen’s cottage hotel, Grand Hotel, Hill Club, and the town post office. Apart from that, you can chill around Gregory lake for the entire day.

If you visit Nuwara Eliya, don’t forget to visit famous attractions like Victoria park, Nanu Oya, Ambewela State, New Zealand farm, and especially a misty world in Horton plains.

If you want a perfect hideout, the world’s end will be the most unforgettable experience for you. Worlds end is just 14 KM away from the Nuwara Eliya town and you can drive through the misty world and finally, you will enter the forest. Don’t miss the Bakers waterfall and forest adventure walk.

Bakers Waterfall
Bakers Waterfall

For tourists who like the misty weather and forest walks, Nuwaraeliya and Horton Palin will be one of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka.

when you going back don’t forget to collect some finest tea packets from many local tea factories…!!!

This is just a small fraction from the places that you can visit in Sri Lanka, we will give you more articles explaining some sites and places to visit that related to legendary stories in Srilanka in future…!

If you want to find out more about the best places to visit in Paris, Switzerland, and Singapore, please click on those links.

Travel For Enjoy!!!

10,600 Replies to “Best places to visit in Sri Lanka”

    1. chamalpradeep says: Reply

      Thank you verymuch!

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